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Review: 27-inch Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display


By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

The 27-inch Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display is singular in offering the very best performance combined with display innovation on an all-in-one Mac desktop today.

Apple's iMac may not look like the vanguard of the desktop PC market it once was. The current form factor is familiar but rather dated. But, there's no denying the appeal and sensibility of this proven all-in-one design.

The latest 27-inch 5K iMac looks like its predecessors of years past, yet it packs enough innovation in display technology as well as power under the hood to be the most powerful Mac ever built. That is, until the Darth Vader-inspired iMac Pro finally ships at the end of the year.

For professional users, anyone working in the realms of photography, film editing and even VR and AR design, the 5K iMac is the most capable slab of aluminium with an Apple stamped on it. It is now better for gaming and tuned for VR creation and playback, which is quite a feat, specially for a non-upgradeable consumer all-in-one.

Unboxing experience is second to none


Unboxing and setting up the latest iMac reminded me of why this line has endured the test of time and really made Apple synonymous with creating user-friendly experiences.

Out of the box, the 5K iMac comes with a plug, the latest Apple Magic keyboard and mouse. That's it.

Plug the iMac and within 20 seconds you're on you're way. It's been a while since I considered working on a desktop (oh, I do have one, but I don't enjoy using it), this quickly changed with the 5K iMac.

Once I entered my @icloud ( actually, much older, it was my @me account), I suddenly had access to all the latest files and documents that I was working on in my daily driver MacBook. Talk about seamless.

The Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse automatically pair to the iMac (they can also be charged via Lightning connector, which is convenient).

Aside from having to install a few, third-party apps, I was in my preferred work environment, on a new machine, in under 30 minutes.

There's absolutely no way you would experience this ease of use on Windows 10. Not with the endless necessary updates you need to install plus the hours worth of work just to delete included bloatware.

Only problem I ran into was not ebing able to add my iTunes account to this machine as it seems I've used it on too many devices.

Display of affection


The large, immersive 27-inch display is so detailed and crisp that it is a joy to behold. It is large enough that you'll banish the thought of adding a second monitor and being able to tilt it helps ergonomics.

This is 5K, which means an insane degree of detail up close. The new display also boasts 43 per cent brightness increase and support for 1 billion colours. Graphics are backed by a Radeon Pro 560 with 4GB of VRAM card.

This display is gorgeous, it is brighter than any PC display I've used and is even leaps and bounds better than any TVs I have in my home.

Watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones (Ooh, dragons!), was so sublime that I plugged in a Blu-Ray player to go rewatch earlier seasons.

If it were for consuming content alone, the iMac would be an expensive yet stylish TV. Apple has made the iMac a very capable prosumer PC in its own right. Thanks to the latest Intel Kaby Lake processors (up to 4.2 GHz Turbo Boost).

My review unit came with 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz). It was very quick, I enjoyed putting Adobe Lightroom through its paces on a screen of this size, editing short 1080p HD videos in iMovie and Final Cut Pro was smooth and easy, specially when adding realtime transitions, effects, titles and fades.


The 27-inch Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display is singular in offering the very best performance combined with display innovation on an all-in-one Mac desktop today.

For a starting price of CAD $2,399.00 plus tax, you get a computer and a display for around less than some 5K displays cost, this makes sense for users looking for an Ultra-HD content creation tool that's also a superb video and photo playback device.

Most consumers, specially students and families will be satisfied with the smaller 21-inch 4K iMac, which is similarly a great value for what it offers, specially since it shares many features of its larger brother. Apple has a current promo that bundles Beats headphones with new iMacs or iPads.


Stunning 5K display

Powerful all-in-one



Design is dated

Impossible to upgrade without a technician



A more powerful option than the dated Mac Pro, the latest iMac with Retina 5K is the top Mac on the block for the forseeable future. Now geared towards gaming, AR and VR content creation, this is a sensible choice for users who don't need expansion and are happy with the iMac's form factor. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

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